Vickers F.B.19

The Vickers F.B.19 was a British, single-seat reconnaissance aircraft, which was too weak for the Western front, but was then mainly used by the Russian Air Force.


Development and design:

The designer Challenger began in early 1916 with the development of an armed, single-seater biplane for the Vickers company. Challenger's design was based on the Sopwith Camel and Nieuport 17 aircraft, but its dimensions were smaller. Only the height of the fuselage and the size of the engine fairing differed from the aircraft.

The engine was a 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine.

Like most aircraft of the time, the Vickers F.B.19 was equipped with a synchronized 7.7 mm Vickers machine gun. This was not mounted on the hood of the engine as usual but on the left side. This arrangement should facilitate the installation of the Vickers Challenger synchronisation gear, which was also developed by the designer Challenger.

The first prototype was completed in August 1916. Six more aircraft were brought to northern France for testing. However, the Vickers F.B.19 was quickly found by the pilots to be insufficient. On the one hand the performance of the engine was described as too weak, on the other hand the position of the pilot was unfavourable and the visibility was strongly restricted by the large engine cover.

After the test phase, the engine was replaced by 110 hp versions from Le Rhône or Clerget, but it was not enough for the western front.


Vickers F.B.19


Vickers F.B.19




Use in the First World War:

After some modifications and the installation of a somewhat more powerful engine, some of the 65 aircraft were brought to the Middle East, Palestine and Macedonia.

However, a larger quantity was brought to Russia. Originally at the end of 1916 only one airplane was transferred to Russia to present and test it there. The Russian pilots felt the Vickers F.B.19 after some tests as more suitable for the front than other models, so between 20 and 30 airplanes were shipped to Russia. Some of these airplanes were also equipped with the 130 HP Clerget engine, so that these were more efficient than the SPAD S.VII and Sikorsky S-20 airplanes.

After the October Revolution, some of the aircraft fell into the hands of the Bolshevists and were used against the People's Army until 1924. Some of the planes that were in transport boxes at the port of Arkhangelsk for transport were destroyed by the Royal Navy when they took in 1919 allied expeditionary forces.




Technical data:

Designation: Vickers F.B.19
Country: Great Britain
Type: Reconnaissance plane
Length: 5,54 meters
Span: 7,32 meters
Height: 2,52 meters
Weight: 409 kg empty
Crew: Max. 1
Engine: Originally a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine with 100 hp (75 kW)

Later a Le Rhône or Clerget engine with 110 hp

Maximum speed: 164 km/h
Range: Max. 2 hours and 45 minutes
Arming: 1 x 7,7 mm Vickers machine gun






You can find the right literature here:


The First Air War, 1914-1918

The First Air War, 1914-1918 Hardcover – December 1, 1990

In this concise study, Kennett tells the complete story of World War I's air battles, from Eastern to Western front, from the skies of Europe and its seas to those of the Middle East and Africa.

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Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)

Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide) 2nd Edition

Illustrated with detailed artworks of combat aircraft and their markings, Aircraft of World War I: The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide is a comprehensive study of the aircraft that fought in the Great War of 1914–18. Arranged chronologically by theatre of war and campaign, this book offers a complete organizational breakdown of the units on all the fronts, including the Eastern and Italian Fronts. Each campaign includes a compact history of the role and impact of aircraft on the course of the conflict, as well as orders of battle, lists of commanders and campaign aces such as Manfred von Richtofen, Eddie Rickenbacker, Albert Ball and many more. Every type of aircraft is featured, including the numerous variations and types of well- known models, such as the Fokker Dr.I, the Sopwith Camel and the SPAD SVII, through to lesser-known aircraft, such as the Rumpler C.1, and the Amstrong Whitworth FK8. Each aircraft profile is accompanied by exhaustive specifications, as well as details of individual and unit markings. Packed with more than 200 color profiles of every major type of combat aircraft from the era, Aircraft of World War I 1914–1918 is an essential reference guide for modellers, military historians and aircraft enthusiasts.

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World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF Hardcover – June 13, 2011

Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.

He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning’s first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world’s first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time postwar.

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A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness

A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness Paperback – June 25, 2014

A deeply personal and revealing eyewitness narrative of one airman's life as a bomber pilot in England 's RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) in WWI. It is a true story, an adventure, and a war memoir carefully constructed from Captain Donald E. Harkness's unpublished diaries, letters, sketches and photographs - only recently uncovered nearly a century later - that documented his remarkable experiences and military adventures over England, France and Belgium. The first book written by a highly decorated WWI flyer from New Zealand that captures the "behind the scenes" life of RNAS pilots, as well as the surprises, terrors, traumas, humor, and sheer excitement of an aerial form of combat never before experienced by anyone, anywhere - and only eleven short years after the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk. With a talent for writing, Don begins an epic journey at a major turning point in history when the world is poised at the dawn of flight, and bracing itself for unknown dangers of unprecedented sophistication and savagery. Don's journal reveals unique insights and vivid imagery of another time and experience, to wit: - the terror and devastation of a Zeppelin bombing raid in London - the training regimen of early flying schools, and their serious & comic episodes - the wonder, awe, and poetry of flying aloft in the majestic heavens - vivid bombing raids, plus the raid that earned him the DSC - his crash-landing and capture - working with the underground to help downed pilots evade capture - London's unrestrained exuberance on Armistice Day; . . . and much, much more.

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